To celebrate Black History Month African and African-American Studies, AFA, is hosting a writing contest that is open from now until March 30 that focuses on the African-American experience and the contributions of African-American people to the community, said director of AFA Ogechi Anyanwu.

This competition began in 2009, but it had fallen by the wayside for some time, said Anyanwu.

“When I became director of AFA, I wanted to revive the competition,” he said.

Last year the competition only allowed EKU students to submit pieces, but this year Anyanwu decided to let students from surrounding high schools compete.

“I saw it as an opportunity to recruit students to EKU,” said Anyanwu. He hopes that high school students who participate in the competition see that EKU honors excellence in writing and become more inclined to enroll.

The top three high school students must also come to Eastern’s campus to pick up their prizes and will have the chance to experience the campus themselves, said Anyanwu.

“It’s important for EKU to be engaged with the surrounding community and foster relationships with the surrounding school systems,” said AFA instructor Josh Farrington.

To recruit high school students AFA faculty and students went to area high schools, such as Madison High, and reached out both to students and counselors to get them involved in what AFA stands for, said Anyanwu.

Anyanwu hopes that students recruited in this way may minor in AFA, no matter what their major is.

High school students may be a part of the writing competition, but they will not be going up against the college participants, said Anyanwu.

“It would be unfair to put the two together and judge them, so we made two separate competition groups,” said Anyanwu.

All forms of works are being accepted for this competition, ranging from reports to poster board to poetry to culturally based artistic performances, said Anyanwu.

“I’d say there are two types of students who would join this competition,” said Farrington. One type would be students who have already written papers for their AFA classes that they are proud of, and the other would be independently creative students, said Farrington.

A committee of three AFA members will go through the submissions from each competition group and decide upon the top three, said Anyanwu.

For each competition group, first place wins $75, second place wins $50 and third place wins $25. 

“This competition is a great way to spotlight some of our best students and show contributions of diverse students to the academic community,” said Farrington.

Students can turn in their submissions to Margaret Hale in Keith 143 or Margaret.hale@eku.edu.